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   Chapter 1 Prologue

Instant By Anna Rae Characters: 4863

Updated: 2018-01-18 17:55


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Fear doesn't shut you down; it wakes you up

― Veronica Roth

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I was running.

My legs pumped, bringing me further and further away from what I was running from. Driven by fear and adrenaline, my feet tore at the lush, grassy ground, as if they were angry to even walk upon the earth.

My brain pulsed, the banging of a drum beating constantly on my skull. But it wasn't unusual. At the moment it seemed like the most natural part of my body.

Bang bang bang.

One, two, three - hitting sixty with a harsh hammer that pierced my temples. It sounded much like a gunshot, but harsher still, like time itself was exploding.

Seconds, minutes, hours passed, and I could feel it all in my head. Sixty seconds, paired with a harsh bang at the end. Sixty minutes, followed by an even harsher bang.

A tree branch slapped against my face as I ran past it. I didn't notice the hard wood until it was too late. My legs kept working, kept driving me, and my hand went up to cradle my stinging face. Drops of blood inked slowly from the wound. I looked down for the only second I could spare. Blood dripped down my fingers, red and sticky.

My eyes flitted around. The forest was fading away at the edges, inky black fog seeping in through the looming trees.

The knotted, brown hair atop my head was flying in snarled locks behind me, catching on small branches and twigs, but I kept running, because suddenly the feeling of being chased was heavy in my conscience.

They was the predator and I was the prey. I couldn't hear the footsteps, though in my head they were loud and heavy, crushing me under their weight.

Fear was etching itself into my skin, creating scars that sliced through my being. My heart was hammering inside of my chest, so fast that it physically hurt.

"Stop, " I cried out loud in between gasping for air. My lungs were collapsing with every anxiety-filled moment.

Bang bang bang, went the drum in my head.

"Please!" I cried, my voice raspy. I couldn't explain it, but I knew that getting caught would be the end - it would either be the end of the pain and misery, or the start of something much worse.

The latter seemed more likely.

Suddenly, the scene changed, and leaves crunched beneath my feet. It was autumn, but the absence of birds proved that I was nearing cold and winter.

I hated the cold, and cringed as snow piles leaked

up from the forest floor, piling higher and higher until it became difficult to run.

Torrents of cool air were rushing in behind me, pushing pushing pushing, until my body threatened to splay itself across the snow.

My bare arms and legs, covered by shorts and a t-shirt, were suddenly piled with goosebumps, and I began to shiver.

The predator was running behind me, their footsteps finally mixing in with mine. They were close.

Fear, cold and crushing, filled my chest. I felt their presence behind me, running faster than I could.

My converse shoes were soaked and filling with snow. I almost cried out when one of them slipped off my heal and was left behind in the snow. The now-bare foot slapped against the freezing snow, shooting pain slicing up my leg.

I didn't want to do it anymore.

What if I stop running? I wondered vaguely. Will it end?

But the question of how it would end was more overpowering, and I pumped my arms faster, moving my legs until they threatened to break.

Snow was falling, pelting, shooting down from the sky through the leafless tree branches.

I ran.

"Remember me, Adira?"

The voice was hard and cracking, a deep, angry male.

A scream tumbled out of my mouth and I choked on it, struggling for air.

There was something so familiar about the voice that it sent a spine-chilling shiver down my back.

The banging in my head was as prominent as ever. My skull was being smashed with a hammer.

The man was getting closer - I could feel him on my heels. It was only one person, but it felt like an overpowering group of many.

A hand, as cold and clammy and as frozen as the air around me, clamped town on my shoulder.

I was jerked back.

The scream in my mouth was cut off by another hand, which slapped down on my mouth. I struggled to draw in air through the stiff fingers. My chest constricted.

And then I was falling.

<<>>

I woke up, another scream caught in my throat.

Drops of sweat slid down my forehead as I dropped my head into my hands, pushing my bed sheet away from my sweaty body.

The same dream, over and over, for the past two weeks, and I didn't know what it meant.

"Dream my ass, " I muttered shakily. That had been a nightmare.

The fear I'd felt was still caught in my chest, taking up too much space.

I never knew what the nightmare meant. Except that when I woke up, the banging in my head was gone.

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